Fire Protection Engineering

Crane Engineering’s fire protection engineering services cover a broad spectrum of engineering disciplines including the evaluation of fire dynamics, fire growth and spread, fire suppression and alarm systems, building and fire code requirements, life safety, building construction, structural engineering, building systems and standardized fire test methods. Crane's fire protection engineers can conduct pre-fire hazard and risk assessments and design reviews as well as post-failure investigations, including recommendations on how fires and fire suppression system failures could have been prevented. 

Sprinkler Systems

Sprinklers can be extremely effective in controlling and suppressing fires to protect life and reduce property damage. However, system impairments, improperly designed systems, inadequate maintenance, changes in building occupancy and increased fire loading can render a sprinkler system inadequate for proper protection. A pre-fire evaluation of a sprinkler system can provide owners with important information related to potential gaps in sprinkler protection. A review of design drawings, hydraulic calculations, maintenance records as well as a physical inspection of an existing sprinkler system can provide invaluable knowledge regarding the adequacy of sprinkler systems. An evaluation of the design of a sprinkler system and the applicable fire code during a change in building occupancy can be used to identify possible deficiencies in protection as well as to satisfy the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) and/or insurance requirements. 

Fire Alarm Systems

The role of fire alarm systems during a fire is to detect the fire, notify occupants and in many cases alert the fire department. In modern buildings, fire alarm systems have become more complex involving multiple types of fire detection devices, interconnected fire alarm panels and sub panels, multiple detection and notification zones, as well as control and interaction with other building systems such as HVAC, elevators, etc. Improper design, installation and/or maintenance of a fire alarm system can render it unable to alert occupants to a fire. Knowledge of fire alarm requirements and standards can be essential to the evaluation of fire alarm operations and potential failures.

Commercial Kitchen Fire Suppression Systems

Due to their nature, commercial kitchens are susceptible to fires due to a myriad of reasons including cooking equipment failures, overheating of cooking oils and grease build up in exhaust vents. Commercial kitchen fire suppression systems are designed to control and extinguish fires in these circumstances. However, these systems can be inadequate in extinguishing fires due to poor design, improper equipment coverage and inadequate system maintenance. Crane has extensive experience evaluating commercial kitchen suppression systems related to adequate design and maintenance as well as the evaluation of failures during fires.

Clean Agent Systems

Telecommunication sites, data centers and archives, museums, oil and gas facilities, power plants and other industries present a unique fire challenge. While the potential for fire exists, traditional water-based suppression systems can cause the fire to become accelerated or cause extensive damage to electronic equipment far beyond the fire itself. In these scenarios, clean agent systems are often used as an acceptable fire suppression strategy. Like other suppression systems, these clean agent systems incorporate systems and components that need to be properly designed for the applicable hazard. Crane Engineering can evaluate clean agent systems for adequacy, code compliance as well as inadvertent system discharges, including post-fire investigation of system failures. 

Passive Fire Protection Systems

Fire protection strategies include active systems, such as sprinklers, and passive systems, such as fire proofing and fire resistant construction. Crane has fire protection engineers and structural engineers that can evaluate the adequacy of passive fire protection systems. 

Vehicle Fire Suppression Systems

Large, complex vehicles such as mining and other off-road vehicles are often equipped with on-board fire suppression systems. The rugged demands of such vehicles can lead to fires, and a compromised or inadequate fire suppression systems can cause catastrophic losses to the vehicle. If the fire suppression system fails to operate or does not operate properly, the damage to the vehicle can be costly and can cause significant delays in operations.  Crane Engineering can evaluate vehicle fire suppression systems to assess the adequacy of the design and installation, evaluate inspection and maintenance activities, assess proper system operation, and test various components for functionality.

Fire Protection System Failures

Fire protection systems can fail during fires as well as non-fire conditions due to system inspection, testing and maintenance deficiencies, freeze damage, component failures, corrosion, metallurgical issues and Microbial Influenced Corrosion (MIC). Crane’s fire protection engineers and materials scientists have experience evaluating conditions related to fire suppression system failures, including system degradation due to environmental conditions, inadvertent system discharges and sprinkler component failures leading to significant damage due to water.

Structural Response to Fire and Explosion

The heat from a fire or the pressure from an explosion can have a significant impact on the structural stability of a building. Crane Engineering’s structural engineers can provide evaluations of the structural integrity and building’s viability for occupancy, and also provide a scope of repair as well as recommendations on structural shoring requirements during repairs and investigation operations. 

Fire Protection System Design Review

Crane Engineering’s fire protection engineers can provide independent, third-party reviews of life safety and fire protection systems and system designs.

Fire Safety & Fire Code Compliance Audits

The protection of life is the primary focus of fire protection engineering. Crane Engineering can perform site audits or design reviews to evaluate compliance with life safety and fire code requirements such as those prescribed in the NFPA building and life Safety Codes, model building and fire codes  as well as local codes. 

Fire Test Standards

Many materials for use in construction, vehicles and ships require compliance with fire test standards including fire resistance, flammability, combustibility, smoke/toxic gas production, to name a few. Crane Engineering’s engineers are actively involved in the development of fire test standards and can provide engineering and consulting services related to fire test standards, code requirements, prediction of fire performance and material reaction to fire.

Fire & Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling

A part of performance-based design requirements is the evaluation of potential fire causes and their potential effect on building systems. Crane Engineering can perform a wide range of computational models to assess complex principles related including computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling, zone modeling and empirical modeling.